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Late Chalcolithic Archaeobotanical Remains at Çadır Höyük, Turkey

Late Chalcolithic archaeobotanical dataset from Çadır Höyük, Anatolia that focuses on shifting plant use between spaces and through time.

Project Abstract

This dataset represents archaeobotanical data from three trenches in the Çadır Höyük Excavation Project. Sixty archaeobotanical samples representing 12 discrete context types with a focus on pits, pyric features, and surfaces, were selected for analysis. The goals for analysis were to: 1) determine what type of plant remains were recovered from the samples; 2) document if there was any spatial variation between plant remains; and 3) detail any shifts in plant use over time. This analysis was designed to fit into the ongoing analysis of the Çadır Höyük Excavation that focused on the Late Chalcolithic as a period of social and environmental change. The sampling strategy consisted of sampling all secure contexts in three architecturally diverse trenches. The samples from the Trenches LSS 4 and LSS 5 were collected in 2000 and 2001 under the supervision of Alexia Smith and the samples from Trench SES 1 were collected from 2012 through 2014 under the supervision of Madelynn von Baeyer. The specific collection and counting methods are detailed below.

Methodological Notes:

Twenty-liter sediment samples were collected from all secure contexts and floated using a modified Siraf flotation machine with 300 μm mesh light fraction bags and 1 mm mesh heavy fraction screens. During the 2000 and 2001 seasons the samples were floated onsite using water from the Gelingüllü Dam Lake. Around 2004 or 2005, flotation shifted to the open area behind the excavation house in Peyniryemez, Turkey, located 1.5 km from the site. Light fractions were dried in the shade prior to being stored in hard plastic containers. All archaeobotanical samples recovered before 2012 were shipped to the University of Connecticut for analysis. Owing to a change in Turkish export laws, samples recovered after 2012 were stored on site and analyzed in Turkey at Bitlis Eren University.

The volume (ml) of light fraction for each sample was measured and the light fraction was then separated into four size fractions: >4mm, 2–4mm, 1–2mm, and <1mm. Each size fraction was then weighed to 4 decimal places (g) and the masses summed to determine the weight of the entire sample. All material >1mm was sorted in its entirety, while the <1mm fraction was scanned for any identifiable seeds or plant parts. Wood was separated out and weighed. Cereals were counted following the methods: intact seeds and plant parts were counted as one, as were all culm fragments, rachis fragments, and glume bases. Spikelet forks were counted as two rachis fragments. Dorsal and apical grain fragments were counted separately and the larger of the two counts was added to the count for intact specimens. The total count of small indeterminate cereal fragments that were neither embryo nor apical was divided by 4 or 5 depending on the size of the fragments in each sample, rounded up to the nearest integer, and then added to the count for the intact grains. Fragmented leguminous seeds with both cotyledons present were counted as one. Individual cotyledons were counted, the total count divided by 2, and rounded up to the nearest integer. The number of dung pellets or fragments were also counted and recorded for each sample.

Potential Applications of the Data:

The Late Chalcolithic on the north Anatolian plateau has been understudied and the archaeobotanical evidence from this period in this region is very sparse. This dataset provides detailed archaeobotanical counts for crops, chaff, weedy, and wild species for the second half of the 4th millennium BCE. It can be combined with other archaeobotanical datasets from the region to create a detailed profile of plant use during the Late Chalcolithic period.


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (#1463705, 2015) awarded to Madelynn von Baeyer and Alexia Smith, and an American Research in Turkey (ARIT) fellowship (2014) awarded to Madelynn von Baeyer. Write-up and study support were supplied by a University of Connecticut Anthropology Dissertation Writing Grant (2017) and a Harvard University Herbaria Research Fellowship (2018) both awarded to Madelynn von Baeyer.

Related Publications:

Sharon R. Steadman, Laurel D. Hackley, Stephanie Selover, Burcu Yıldırım, Madelynn von Baeyer, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, Ryan Robinson, Alexia Smith. 2019. Early Lives: The Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age at Çadır Höyük. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 7(3): 271–298.

Steadman, Sharon R., Gregory McMahon, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, Madelynn von Baeyer, Alexia Smith, Burcu Yıldırım, Laurel D. Hackley, Stephanie Selover, and Stefano Spagni. 2019. Stability and Change at Çadır Höyük in Central Anatolia: A Case of Late Chalcolithic Globalisation? Anatolian Studies 69: 21–57.

Smith, Alexia. 2007. Plant use at Çadır Höyük, Central Anatolia. Anatolica 33, 169–184.

von Baeyer, Madelynn, Alexia Smith, and Sharon R. Steadman. 2021. Expanding the plain: Using archaeobotany to examine adaptation to the 5.2 kya climate change event during the Anatolian Late Chalcolithic at Çadır Höyük. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 36 (102806). DOI:

Dissertation: Madelynn von Baeyer. 2018. Seeds of Complexity: An Archaeobotanical Study of Incipient Social Complexity at Late Chalcolithic Çadır Höyük, Turkey. Ph.D. Dissertation in Anthropology, University of Connecticut

Current Disposition of the Physical Collection:

All archaeobotanical remains excavated prior to 2012 were exported and stored at the University of Connecticut Archaeobotanical Laboratory. All archaeobotanical remains excavated during the 2012 season and later are stored in the excavation storage at the dig house in Peyniryemez, Yozgat Province, Turkey.

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Suggested Citation

Madelynn von Baeyer. "Late Chalcolithic Archaeobotanical Remains at Çadır Höyük, Turkey". (2021) Madelynn von Baeyer (Ed.) . Released: 2021-03-26. Open Context. <> DOI: ARK (Archive):

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